RCBI expands program to train ex-inmates affected by opioid crisis

A one-of-a-kind initiative introduced last year by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University to provide formerly incarcerated women affected in some way by the opioid crisis a pathway to careers in manufacturing is expanding to include men.

RecoveryWorksWV, a free 15-week holistic program based at RCBI’s Huntington Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, will begin class orientation June 10 and 11. The program is open to residents of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southeastern Ohio. Participants will receive:

  • Hands-on machinist training in the operation of computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) mills and lathes, coupled with classroom instruction in blueprint reading, mathematics, precision measurement and safety
  • On-the-job experience at area manufacturing facilities that will include an $8-per-hour stipend for their work
  • Peer counseling to support emotional development, especially as it relates to maintaining sobriety or dealing with family and friends struggling with addiction
  • Soft-skills training to advance recovery and prepare trainees for re-entry into the workforce. This will include resume writing, job interview preparation and time-management skills development.

“Having skills to gain sustainable employment improves the chances of long-term success for those recovering from opioid misuse,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director and CEO. “As the world emerges from the pandemic, manufacturers are struggling to find enough machinists to fill open positions. This program teaches participants the technical skills to secure a job, provides on-the-job experience, and coaches the soft-skills to re-enter the workforce while helping manufacturers meet critical workforce needs.”

Companies around the region have agreed to participate by providing real-world manufacturing experience for participants. Marshall’s Creating Opportunities for Recovery Employment (CORE) program and Catholic Charities West Virginia will help identify candidates for the program and provide counseling and soft-skills training. Region 2 Workforce Investment Board and the employment agency Manpower will assist in recruiting industry partners.

For more information, contact RCBI’s Carol Howerton at 304.781.1680 or .

RecoveryWorksWV is supported in part by a grant from the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation, a Texas-based philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the social fabric of life by seeking innovative solutions to intractable and persistent problems.

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